A Birmingham couple in the first flushes of love embark on a caravanning holiday to the Lake District. On their travels they visit museums, have grim sex, take in the countryside, and kill innocent people without remorse. Extrapolated from a sketch by writers & stars Steve Oram and Alice Lowe Sightseers is a comedy so dark it can only be British.
It’s tricky to explain why but Sightseers fits my sense of humour almost perfectly. While the joke about two tourists near Keswick on a killing spree has the potential to get old the fact that the real laughs in the film are rooted in excellent characterisation and clever dialogue means the film is surprising and fresh right down to its final bleak twist.
This is a film that will have you leaving the cinema both quoting lines of dialogue and recalling with horror graphic images of violence. What Sightseers gets right where Seven Psychopaths (out today and reviewed here) gets it wrong is that this film does not try to admonish itself for including violence, and incidentally is much less indulgent in the violence, along with having a much more coherent plot with better direction, writing, acting, and presumably better catering too.
Director Ben Wheatley is known for his tense, violent films and shows here that he can do comedy too. He manages to capture perfectly the grimness of Tina and Chris’ romance while also capturing the natural beauty of the Lake District. This would make an excellent advert for holidaying in England if it weren’t for all the brutal killing.
Sightseers is a near-perfect black comedy that brought back nostalgic feeling to this West Midlander whose childhood was filled with trips to the Lakes to kill innocent bystanders. (OK, so maybe we didn’t kill anyone.) If you are a fan of dark British comedies then I would be amazed if you haven’t already seen this.